Firefest kicks off Piney Woods rivalry

Photo courtesy of Scott Morris

On Sept. 30, Firefest, which is the yearly pep rally before the Battle of the Piney Woods game, was held at Bowers Stadium at 8:00 p.m. This was the first time since 2019 that the rally was held.

With the impressive record the Sam Houston football team has, winning the last nine Battle of the Piney Woods games, this tradition is important to not only the students but to the football players themselves.

“The pep rally is huge for the football team,” senior punter Matthew McRobert said. “Not only does it signify the beginning of the Battle of Piney Woods, but it is an exciting evening for the team to get together and see fans together.”

For members of the football team, there comes a lot of honor and pride to see the student body come together for these assemblies with the support of the rally being a motivator for the team to do well going forward.

“Giving back to the community and the fans, it’s something we pride ourselves on in our culture, and all of the players are looking forward to Thursday night,” McRobert said. “It’s a huge game, a game you always mark on your calendar for the NRG stadium, with 30,000 fans… there’s a reason we have nine years of success. This is our Superbowl.”

Between the firework display, the dance team’s routine and the band playing multiple hits like “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend and “We are the Champions” by Queen, the pep rally left the crowd with spirit.

“Personally, I used to be a big band nerd, so I love seeing the band,” freshman forensic chemistry major Luke Surratt stated. “I loved seeing the Sam Houston band play because to me it was awesome, and I loved it.”

One of the main events that took place at this year’s Firefest was a huge bonfire that was ignited. This was the first time since 2017 that the tradition of the bonfire took place at the rally.

“It’s really nice the bonfire is out here,” Luke said. “The fire is bright, big and it’s orange, not purple and that’s what’s great about it”.

With the conclusion of the event, the football team and supporters are hopeful for a tenth straight win against the rival team Stephen F. Austin University Lumberjacks at Battle of the Piney Woods this Saturday Oct. 2 at NRG Stadium.

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